FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Defends Status Quo, Rebuffs Attempts To Open Up Spectrum Auction

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejected calls from T-Mobile and others Thursday to expand the amount of wireless spectrum being reserved for small carriers in the upcoming wireless spectrum auction.

In a blog post, Wheeler held that the “current reserve size of 30 megahertz balances the desire to make low-band spectrum available to parties with limited holdings while facilitating competitive bidding for all auction participants.”

This announcement follows heavy lobbying from small carriers like T-Mobile, Sprint and Dish for the commission to increase the amount of spectrum available to small carriers to at least 40 megahertz, in fears that AT&T and Verizon will be able to easily outbid them. Just this past week, Justice Department antitrust officials sent the FCC a letter urging them to give “considerable weight” to the request of smaller carriers.

[tweet https://twitter.com/JohnLegere/status/614156119326351360 align=’center’]

This remains a pretty critical committee decision for a lot of the smaller carriers, something T-Mobile CEO John Legere made quite clear in an impassioned video in which he urged Americans to tell the FCC to “do something,” so that the country wouldn’t be stuck with “dumb and dumber” (his pet names for Verizon and AT&T).

T-Mobile issued a full statement in response to Wheeler’s post today, saying:

“Low-band spectrum is the holy grail for AT&T and Verizon. If others get it, and the Big Two have to compete on price, their customers alone would save over $20 billion per year. That’s why everyone with a wireless phone has a stake in the outcome of this proceeding, and the FCC should heed the calls of DoJ, many in Congress and a slew of consumer groups and move to strengthen the reserve.”